Monday, June 1, 2009

LIFE, ASTROLOGY AND DESTINY

The last few days have been very trying. A family known to us lost their 22 year old son in a motorcycle accident. It was a freak accident - the bike skidded and fell on the right side. Both the rider and pillion were thrown off the bike. The pillion fell on sand and escaped with minor bruises and driver fell on concrete and was fatally injured on the spot. The grief of the parents, relatives and friends was unbearable, and most of us were not sure how the parents could be consoled after such a grievous loss. Conversation seemed futile and very shallow, as the grief was unfathomable to most of us, and each one of us felt that injustice had been done to the parents. The funeral was conducted on Thursday itself. Friday was tough. On Saturday, the parents had organised a 'havan'. The 'havan' helped in coming to terms with the grief, and slowly life seemed to overtake the grief that had seemed insurmountable initially.

During the course of these days, we were exposed to a variety of experiences of life that each individual had had during the course of their lives. We visited the 'karma' theory and how our own life is not under our control and our destiny decides the broad pattern of our life, and as Sai Baba says, "What you meet in life is destiny, how you meet it is self effort (karma)".

I was reminded of a fatal air accident involving one of my pupils in 1980. I was a new instructor and AM was one of my first pupils on Kiran aircraft. His first few dual sorties were not up to the mark, and thus when he came up for solo check, I suggested to my supervisor that he was not ready and that he should be given a change of instructor for two sorties and then retested. The supervisor took him up for the solo check and cleared him solo, against my suggestion. Inspite of my reservations, AM cleared his progress test and all other tests.My doubts were rested, when my supervisor told me that I was a new instructor and did not know the standards required and that I was expecting too much from pupils flying jets for the first time.

My daughter was born during this period and I proceeded on 10 days leave to fetch my wife and daughter from Delhi to Hyderabad. On the day we boarded the train from Delhi there was a news article stating that, "Flt Cadet M killed in an air accident". I told my wife that this had to be my pupil. She reasoned with me that there were four cadets by that name and how was I so sure that this was my pupil. My worst fears were confirmed when we reached AFA the next day. AM's mother was inconsolable at the funeral and was looking for a ring that AM always wore, despite my asking him to remove the ring while flying, as it could lead to a fractured finger if he happened to slip on the ladder.

Later, I was told the story of the ring by B......

AM's mother believed in astrology and would do everything after consulting her astrologer. AM applied for NDA; passed the exam and was selected for the IAF. His mother was advised by the astrologer to not let him join, as his life was under threat from aircraft. Mum prevailed on him and did not let him join NDA. Instead, AM joined an Engineering College. While doing his engineering, without his parents knowledge, AM once again applied for NDA; appeared for the exam; cleared and was selected for the Army this time. His mother was very upset and did not want him to join NDA, but AM managed to convince her that he was joining the Army, and not the Air Force. She finally relented.

AM joined NDA and in his fourth term opted for a change of service to Air Force, which was accepted. When he went on leave and told his parents, his mother was very upset, but had been given a fait accompli. She again consulted her astrologer, who told her that this was not good for AM. He suggested an 'upaya'(remedy) - AM should wear a ring at all times made of iron that had been taken from the horse shoe of a black horse, and this shoe should be removed only on a full moon night and should contain a certain stone of a certain weight. This was the same ring that AM used to wear despite my disapproval. The ring could not be found after the accident but I have no reason to believe that AM was not wearing this ring on that fateful day.

I believe in astrology but do not believe that 'upayas'/remedies can help in overcoming pre-destined events. Life continues.... and the 'Gita' philosophy can help one understand the true import of events that are unfathomable... Body dies but the soul does not. During the 'havan', the family dog was very uncomfortable and it seemed that the dog could sense the presence of my friend's late son. As humans we can only sense the body; dogs can probably sense the soul too. Each one of us has had various experiences in life; have our own beliefs about astrology and destiny.

I believe astrology to be a very exact science but am not too sure if all practitioners of this science are suitably qualified. I am a firm believer of destiny BUT like to do my karma, because I believe my karma would create my future destiny.

What do you think and believe? I would be keen to hear about your experiences and beliefs about life, astrology and destiny.

20 comments:

Nagesh said...

Thanks for the nice post sir, I do believe in 'Gita', Only principle I followed after studying it last month was 'Not bothered about the fruits of efforts'

I believe in 'Gita',but not Astrology(RahuKala etc). I don't believe astrology because,how the celestial Bodies positions in the sky affects my day-to-day life.( may bring tides in oceans, but celestial bodies wouldn't change my conscience or my life) :)

How do we know said...

this is not a happy time for you, but reading abt the death of ur pupil was the most sad part.. but then, think of it this way.. he lived less(days), but he lived more...

Renu said...

ver very sad, this loss is one which can never be possible to forgetor cope with or live life easily.May god rest his soul in peace and give the strength to the parents to bear the loss!!

I believe in karma and destiny both, but in remedies also.
My father had a byepass surgery in 90, he was advised by astrologer not to get it done on tuesday and see the irony, the date was shuffled so many times that we forgot that instruction completely, only when he couldnt come out, we remembered.
I have many more memories like this, the only thing is that the one who is telling you the remedies should be reliable.

Indyeah said...

I dont believe in astrology Sir..but some of my loved ones do..and it gives them comfort and a sense of calmness I have seen..


the grief of a family that has lost a young member cannot be understood...

it is heartrending..
it also must have been tough for you to relive the death of your pupil again..
my condolences Sir.

God bless their souls..

Kislay said...

I don't know whether to believe to disbelieve , frankly . Some times , it makes sense , some times it don't . And I think the amount of calculations involved , and the innumerbale dynamic variables involved would make things even more difficult .

BK Chowla said...

Personally,I beleive in theory of Karma.

Prithwish said...

Very honestly written. I read in a recent article by Deepak Chopra that grief stays for not more than two years and beyond that its depression and required medical intervention. My point it not too trivialize the loss but to emphasize on our search for pattern and predictability in all events. I believe life is a series of events driven by probability theory. Not to mention though we should lead an honest and just life. But I can never reconcile the fact that past actions can determine my present reality or that bad things can happen to some very good people because of karma. I intent to do some more research on the topic. Why don't you put your theory in the mean time.

J P Joshi said...

Nagesh: I too am looking for answers to these complex questions and have found no definitive answers yet.

I always believed in the astrological order. As I have grown in years, certain events in my life have made me believe that our Creator has organised the world based on some basic astrological arrangements and these tend to dictate events in our lives. However, I also that not every one can predict events, and that you need a person who understands astrology and its ramifications completely to make predictions. I still believe in doing my karma irrespective.

J P Joshi said...

HDWK: The last one week has been really tough on the parents and for us too due association. Finding answers in such situations is not easy. My pupil's death was the first time I was exposed to destiny and how it comes about.... this was too real for me. After this many other events have happened that have made me a firm believer in destiny.

J P Joshi said...

Renu: Yes, we feel for the parents but can only give them words of solace, sometimes these words sound so hollow and inadequate but what else can one do when one is faced with this tragic accident. Time is a big healer, they say, and we pray that God helps the parents overcome their grievous loss.

I know of similar incidents where destiny prevailed despite advice and thus do not believe in the remedies, but many people I know do.

J P Joshi said...

Indyeah: Yes, this was really tragic. At such times the conversation is generally on subjects like destiny, karma and what is life all about. What other way does one have of pacifying the near and dear ones?

I do believe in destiny but since I do not know what is in store for me before the event, I prefer to continue doing my karma and not worry too much about my destiny - it will happen any way, I believe.

J P Joshi said...

Kislay: Events in my life have made me a believer of destiny but I also know that I cannot stop doing my karma irrespective, because I do not know my destiny.

Astrological predictions in my life, by an experienced astrologer have been pretty accurate on a number of occasions and thus I do believe in astrology but am not too sure on the capability of most astrologers to make predictions.

J P Joshi said...

B K Chowla: I believe in the theory of karma too.

Prithwish: I think I will write on what I understand by karma after a bit. No other philosophy can explain the why and how we are born; go through various experiences and then die one day. Why do we like some people instantly and hate others equally instantly? Why are some people born handicapped, some intelligent, some beautiful, some in rich families and so on?

Nilu said...

I do believe in astrology. My theory is that so many wise men (and women) all the over world, and over many centuries, have done lot of R&D on this subject. Surely there must be some veracity in it. I have a lot of curiosity on this subject and keep reading anything that comes to my notice on it. As for faith, I agree that many of the practitioners of astrology do not have complete understanding of this esoteric science. Hence, its not advisable to blindly follow any remedies toted out by them.

J P Joshi said...

Nilu: Agree with you - I too believe astrology to be an exact science but am wary of the people who practice it without adequate depth of knowledge. I do not believe in remedies though - am pretty strong willed and that helps, I believe.

human being said...

the incident about your pupil was really moving... and that one about the son of a family memeber... very sad...

can i ask what do you do in a havan ritual to cope with the grief?

i really do believe in will power... i always feel destiny is fire... and fire always burns... always... now what we do with the fire is our will... we can cook over it or warm ourselves... or set a whole city on fire...

like you, i think there is a lot of wisdom in astrology... as all the cosmos is energy and all things affect each other... surely the energy of planets and starts affect our lives... i do feel them... some knowledge of astrology can help us deal with our moods and life much better...


really love reading about life experiences of people like you who know life a lot...

thanks also for your wonderful and thought-provoking comments...

namaste!

J P Joshi said...

These incidents were very sad and in their own way have contributed to my strengthened belief in destiny. I can find no other valid answers for the same.

Havan is a Vedic sacred ritual of making offerings of wood, ghee, camphor, honey, jaggery, etc.to fire, which is considered to be purifying. Havan has numerous advantages like:

1. Invokes blessings and grace of God in our lives
2. Awakens our auspicious energies.
3. Cleanses our body and mind and
4. Cleanses the atmosphere.

More details at http://www.vedicstore.com/havan.html

I too believe in astrology but do not have faith in the many so called astrologers around. This is a science that needs indepth study to be of any consequence, like all other sciences.

Reflections said...

Christianity doesnt preach any of these things but I'm not going to say I dont believe karma or astrology. While I dont give my life accordingly to my star-signs I do believe there is science behind all these things.
3-4 yrs back there was an incident where 5 youngsters were travelling in a maruti car, it was involved in a crash & 1 person died. That person was sitting at the back inbetween 2 people & it was impossible to believe he died while the others escaped with minor scratches.

I guess wht I'm trying to say is tht what has to happen will happen... we can never escape it!!!!!!!!!

J P Joshi said...

Reflections: "what has to happen will happen... we can never escape it!!!!!!!!!" Agree with you on that. It is just that the human mind wants some rational reasons to understand the why and how of life...life will continue the same way, even if we don't, though.??!!

Anrosh said...

i have been struggling with the question of " so if it is written in ur desitiny it will happen"...
who writes what ? - oneself isn't it ?

human beings have their own will - the guy who wanted to fly, flew, despite a number of changes from nda to engineeering and back and changed to IAF -

Didn't he die happy dying what he did? is one of the questions.
of course the family was heart broken --

And yes if one has a young family the vacuum is even further deeper.

The same analogy could be applied to even a simple thing like, " why do you have to go to hike at a height of 5000 meters or why did you marry him/her. The other person would have been better etc etc.

Ifs, Buts and Why's are the stumps of life. One chooses to cross over it, under it or not cross it at all - the consequence can move along the tandem ... There is never a right answer only relative ones -- for such is life after all. That is it for me.